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HEALTH : Drug Use Increasing in Schools, Survey Says

March 23, 1995|RICK HOLGUIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Drug use among youths in Pasadena and Altadena has increased over the past two years, mirroring a national trend, according to a survey commissioned by Day One, a local anti-substance abuse organization.

The survey, conducted by researchers at USC, indicated that alcohol use at first dipped during the two-year period and then climbed back to initial levels.

The survey also indicated that peer approval of both marijuana and alcohol use increased over the period.

The latest survey was administered from February to June, 1994, to 2,500 students in fifth, seventh, ninth and 12th grades at 21 public, private and parochial schools in Pasadena and Altadena.

Day One's executive director, Francisca Neumann, said the survey indicates a need for more emphasis on drug and alcohol prevention programs in the schools and in the community.

"We know where to focus," Neumann said. "It's easy locking someone up. Prevention is the hardest work."

The survey found that 22.5% of the 12th-graders had used marijuana, compared with 14.2% in 1992. Marijuana use also increased among students in fifth, seventh and ninth grades.

The use of cocaine, including crack, also rose among seventh-graders and ninth-graders but remained stable among 12th-graders. Also on the rise among seventh-graders and ninth-graders was the use of inhalants, such as glue and cleaning fluids. The use of inhalants among 12th-graders remained stable.

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